Veterinary anatomical science is a specialized area of veterinary medicine and biomedicine. Find out about education programs and careers in this specialty.
Veterinary anatomical science is an uncommon specialty in the United States. While there were 70,300 practicing veterinarians in the country in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of people who specialize in veterinary anatomical science is comparatively low (www.bls.gov).
As a veterinary anatomical scientist, you might find work in teaching. Examining animals in a veterinary medicine or animal husbandry program may be another possibility. Researching the macro- and microstructure of animals is also an option.
The BLS expects employment for veterinarians to increase by an average rate of 12% nationwide from 2012-2022. In addition, excellent job opportunities may be available since there are fewer than 30 accredited veterinary medicine schools in the United States. In May 2013, veterinarians earned a mean annual wage of $96,140. College professors in the biological sciences earned a mean annual wage of $87,080 as of 2013 (www.bls.gov).
Most veterinary schools in the United States teach veterinary anatomy; however, it's usually offered as a single or small group of courses within a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program. A DVM program typically takes four years to complete and includes a combination of classroom and clinical hours. Generally, the first three years cover topics in veterinary anatomy and physiology, surgery and radiology. You'll also take courses in animal nutrition, neurology and immunology. Clinical rotations in anesthesia, surgery, internal medicine and neurology, among other areas, usually take place during the fourth year.
If you want to be a veterinary anatomist, you may want to pursue a Master of Science or a Doctor of Philosophy in Veterinary Science. These are research-based programs that can provide an opportunity to specialize in anatomy and physiology. Core coursework might include topics in statistics, molecular biology, physiology and biochemistry. You'll also complete an independent research project that will culminate in a dissertation.